Spring Boys Water Polo Preview 2023

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Let’s check out the boys water polo preview. Can Naperville North get back to state after falling short last season? This preview is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Naperville North replacing strong senior class

We start with the team that took a massive leap up the boys water polo rankings last season in Naperville North. After scuffling the past few seasons, the new-look Huskies won 23 games, earning the one seed in the Neuqua Valley sectional. North made it all the way to the final and took down crosstown rival Naperville Central to punch their ticket to the State series for the first time since 2014. Unfortunately, a 14-6 loss to Lyons Township in quarterfinals ended a tremendous turnaround season for the Huskies, which had to say goodbye to a strong senior class that featured leading scorer Tyson Berg, Patrick Horn, and goalie Cooper McClure. However, sophomores Mason Hoffman and Jack Reif both jump back into the pool for another season and are likely to take charge as leaders for the blue and orange. The Huskies season is underway with one game under their belt and begins the conference season with a tough test against Neuqua Valley.

Naperville Central looking to redeem themselves

Let’s head on over to North’s crosstown rival, Naperville Central. After bringing home four straight state trophies from 2016-2019, including three first place finishes, the Redhawks fell in the last two sectional finals to Neuqua Valley and Naperville North by last-second goals. The Redhawks graduated many players who played significant roles like Nate Lueken, Jacob Wick, and Steven Mander to name a few. Juniors like Ross Dezur, Jack Gervase along with seniors Quinten Sanders and Mason Schmitt will be looking to lead the charge for Central. A chance for redemption for one of the perennial powers in the state of Illinois starts against conference rival Waubonsie Valley.

Waubonsie Valley trying to make history again

Next stop is Waubonsie Valley, who burst out of the water into contender status last season, winning 26 games, the most in school history. Despite the record-breaking campaign, the season ended in the sectional semifinals at the hands of Naperville Central. But the Warriors have so much optimism coming into 2023. Juniors Cam Censullo, Charlie Drohan, Keith Cabinian, Aidan Meagher and goalie PJ Bartzen all return looking to get the Warriors into that elusive State series. With the confidence from last year’s success and so much talent back in the pool, another historic season is certainly on the table. 

“It’s huge to have those guys back and now in a more leadership role working with our JV guys that are moving up and our varsity guys with experience. So I hope to see a lot from them and their experience,” said Waubonsie Valley Boys Water Polo Coach Mike McWhirter. 

The Warriors are already a couple games under their belt, with their first DVC clash on March 14th against Naperville Central with a chance to avenge that sectional loss. 

Neuqua Valley hoping to carry momentum from late last season into this season

After winning their first-ever sectional and bringing home the first State trophy in 2021, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats took a step back in 2022 after the graduation of a strong senior class. But despite having a 9-16 record last spring, the Wildcats won seven out of their last nine games to end the regular season before falling to Naperville Central in the sectional quarterfinals. Players like Austin Olson, Geno Valente, and Chris Cottrill are back for another season. With many Cats returning with at least a year of varsity experience in the water, head coach Chad Ganden is confident in what he has in the pool. 

“We’re a good team and they’re working well with each other. They have fun with each other, they’re trying to develop and build as a group. The senior class has taken a lot of leadership with our underclassmen trying to teach them what we need them to learn. So I see a lot of good leadership not just from our captains but other seniors,” said Neuqua Valley Boys Water Polo Head Coach Chad Ganden. 

The Wildcats have already competed in one game against Barrington. The conference season begins against sectional champs from Naperville North.

Metea Valley trying to get over the hump

Despite never making it to a sectional final, Metea Valley has been a tough out for the past several seasons. That trend continued for the Mustangs, who had yet another strong season in 2022 after winning 21 games. However, they will have some big swim caps to fill going into 2023 after the graduation of leading scorer Tyler Leslie. They do return sophomore goalie Youssef El Touny along with scorers Connor Conley and Cole Prince. Metea is also looking for another team trying to get that sectional hump. That journey has already begun with four games already in the books. The first conference showdown for the Mustangs comes March 21st against Eola road rival Waubonsie Valley.

Check out the other previews here!